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Finalists announced for Human Rights Awards (2011 Media Release)

Commission – General

Finalists announced for Human Rights Awards

The Australian Human Rights Commission has announced finalists in the Business Award and Community Individual Award categories for the upcoming Human Rights Awards.

Please note these are not listed in any particular order.

Business Award

Enlighten Education

Since 2003, Enlighten Education has provided in-school workshops to help girls aged 12 to18 years develop better self-esteem. A team of 10 experienced professionals work with more than 20,000 girls annually, delivering workshops that encourage constructive conversations about gender, identity, education, careers and their futures.

The workshops empower girls at the same time as educating the community about their rights to freedom from sexual harassment, violence and bullying, fairness and equity in education and career opportunities. They also promote awareness of the importance of healthy body image and self-esteem.

Enlighten Education aims to end the social and cultural pressures that place young women at greater risk of anorexia and bulimia nervosa, depression and anxiety, substance abuse and self-harm.

Trent McCarthy & Associates

Trent is a comedian, consultant and facilitator based in Melbourne. He uses his business, professional skills and networks to focus attention on the experiences of young people in the juvenile justice system and state care.

Trent co-founded The Whitelion Bail Out event in 2006. The event creates an "inmate experience” and has raised over $1.5 million since its inception for programs supporting young people in the juvenile justice system. 

On one night each year at the Old Melbourne Gaol, Trent and his team raise awareness about the plight of young people who face a life of imprisonment.  This is achieved by giving people the experience of a young person being arrested, facing court, being interviewed, locked up and eventually being released.

More than 175 business people participated this year with $400,000 being raised.

The Captioning Studio  

The Captioning Studio brings together technology and a passion for inclusion of people with hearing loss.

The business provides daily television captioning which gives viewers with a hearing loss full access to television programs, and also captions and subtitled DVDs and videos. The Captioning Studio also provides theatrical captioning in venues across Australia.

Their unique Go-Theatrical! software is used in theatres and venues across Australia.  They have also recently launched ‘Captioning Equipment Kits’ which provide free and shared use of equipment such as plasma screens, cabling, laptops and software to venues in capital cities around Australia.

They’ve also developed new technology, Clickable Captions, which encourages website owners to make online content accessible by displaying a full transcript next to online videos.

Access Innovation Media Pty Ltd (Ai-Media)

Access Innovation Media, (Ai-Media), developed Ai_live@Work, which provides live captioning for workplace meetings.

Initially created for schools and universities, a corporate version of the Ai_live@Work was launched in mid-2011. 

The system uses telephone conferencing to pick up the conversation in a meeting.  This is then transformed into a specific voice recognition program in real time which appears as text on an Apple iPad or laptop.

The technology also shows who is speaking at the time and sends a transcript to all attendees as a record. 

The company says this technology offers huge possibilities for people with disability in the workplace and everyday life.


Community Individual Award


Susan Barton AM

Founder and Director, Susan Barton AM established the Lighthouse Foundation 20 years ago. Since then, 10 homes have been opened throughout Victoria to provide 24 hour a day, 7 day a week support and care to homeless young people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
These homes give young people the chance to heal, form meaningful relationships, develop self-confidence, and rebuild their dignity and self-respect.

Susan has worked with educationalists, psychologists, business and government leaders to develop the Therapeutic Family Model of Care which aims to break the cycle of habitual homelessness plaguing many disadvantaged young people. This unique model has now been taken up by welfare organisations in Western Australia and there’s also interest in Germany, the UK and the USA.

The Lighthouse Foundation has provided long-term accommodation to more than 600 previously homeless young people and continues to support young people in their journey towards true independence in society.

Tania Hayes OAM

Tania’s life changed at the age of 22 when her fiancé, Warren, was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumour.

Warren began to use a wheelchair and required 24 hour a day assistance. From that moment onwards Tania has devoted her life to becoming a full-time career.

Tania has become a strong advocate for the rights of carers and people with disability which has resulted in significant changes to carer’s rights, recognition and benefits.

As an advocate for 2.6 million carers around Australia, Tania has given more than 200 guest lectures and 150 media interviews to raise awareness of the issues confronted by carers. Her willingness to openly share her family’s story has led to greater recognition of the rights, responsibilities and needs of carers.

Tania also initiated the ‘Support Young Careers in Secondary Schools’ talks series through which she has educated and inspired more than 15,000 students across NSW on the particular needs of the 170,000 young careers under the age of 18 who care for a loved one while juggling their education and peer pressure.

The late Lola Jane Edwards

Lola Edwards was born in 1946 in the northern NSW town of Tingha - a proud member of the Anaiwan and Gamilaroi Aboriginal Nations. She passed away on the 1st August this year.

At the age of four, Lola and her siblings were taken from their family, extended family, community and country. Lola was sent to the Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls Training Home in southern New South Wales.

She did not see her mother again until she was in her 30s. Lola never met her father.

Throughout her life, Lola consistently and tirelessly worked for social justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Lola was a member of Link-Up (NSW). In 1995/6, together with the late Carol Kendall, Lola was appointed to the specialist team which travelled extensively throughout NSW conducting 30 preparatory forums to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including members of the Stolen Generations, to give evidence to the Australian Human Right’s Commission’s Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal People from Their Families.

Two of many important recommendations that were included in the landmark Bringing Them Home report, were the direct result of Lola’s persistence - a 'National Apology' by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and an 'Annual Sorry Day'.

Libby Lloyd AM

Libby Lloyd has worked over her lifetime to advance human rights, in particular, women’s human rights. Since 2003 she has devoted almost fulltime attention to national efforts to end violence against women.

From 2002 to 2008 Libby was President and Board Member of UN Women Australia and in 2007, became the Founder and Board member of the White Ribbon Foundation, a global initiative targeted at the issue of violence towards women.

White Ribbon Day is held on November 25 each year. The Day sees supporters wear a white ribbon. White Ribbon Day aims to support all men to take the initiative to ‘never excuse, commit or remain silent’ about violence against women.

Libby is also currently the chair for the Australian Government’s Violence Against Women Advisory Group as well as a member of the Governments Council for Immigration Services and Status Resolutions.

She has made a major contribution to a vital and unique strategy to promote and protect a fundamental human right for women in Australia – the right to be free of violence and abuse.

The Community Individual Award is sponsored by IHR Australia

More finalists will be announced in the coming weeks.

For details go to:

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Media contact: Louise McDermott (02) 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597

major sponsors and sponsors of the Human Rights Awards